Zerong Cai “Crystal”, from China, just finished volunteering at Ruth’s House in Haverhill, MA as part of CHI’s Short Term Enrichment Program. With care and compassion, Ruth’s House, Inc. provides clothing and employment training opportunities to individuals and families in need.
Zerong shares, My American Experience in Haverhill.
My American Experience in Haverhill
I started my American life with a funny story. The first day I came here because of the Jet lag, I ate nothing then went to sleep for six hours, which scared my roommate Ruby. She couldn’t help and woke me up at 10.00pm. Then the next morning I made super great sandwiches, which surprised Cheryl, my host mother. She said the sandwiches were enough to feed the army. I was so hungry due to the long trip, but later realized that I needed nothing but the sandwich to eat the whole day.
There is no doubt coming to a new country can be a challenge. Many habits of the United States are different from Chinese. To be honest, at first I was not used to live here, it was far away from home. Then I found that as long as you open yourself to embrace different life and live in a moment, it becomes a new and enjoyable experience. I lived in Haverhill, a town near Boston surrounded by many beautiful lakes.
Karen is the American mother of Emily and Mary. She always took us to some scenic and historic spots to visit a Minute man national historical park, Lake Waldon, Winnekenni Park and so on. Karen is a great learner and is good in history and literature. Though I can get a good score in English, my oral English is still terrible. That means I know a lot but can’t express myself. So I’ll try my best to improve my spoken English, maybe someday we can talk easily and freely even about science.
People here have very good manners. Most of them are kind and polite to others, they say hello every time they meet each other, even say hello to strangers like me. I met some many good people like Cheryl – my host mom, Irena & Ken. Cheryl is a smart, optimistic and charming lady. We lived with her during the voluntary time. She looks casual at home, and I know she is an excellent person having good command of many things. Irena is a person who is the same as Cheryl, kind and charming. I talked to her and always felt very happy. Cheryl always said that Irena and Ken are both nice people. And I think that’s as true as gold. Ken is Irena’s husband. He is a psychologist and is a wise person. I wanted to be a psychologist but accidentally my major is in engineering now. Maybe I can choose psychology as my hobby to learn. Talking with Ken is always comfortable it is just like talking with a nice and wise friend or a grandpa.
What more, I met some friends coming from China. We travelled together, hung out together, worked together. They are friends worthy to meet.
I worked at Ruth’s house, a place of donation to serve not-so-rich people. I met many friends like Kim, Sort, Fran, Meagon, Dawn. They are kind and great friends. The time spent with them was a great experience for me. I love you guys. Now, I still can’t help missing you. I hope we will meet another time. Now I have a deeper appreciation of this experience. It is one of the most valuable memories of my life.